Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Dude Food Challenge

Duck and Mushroom Arancini with Spicy Saffron Mayo
MasterChef has its "Dude Food" Challenge tonight and I feel like I'm quite well practised in this type of food - way more than the delicate restaurant plating that is normally required.

The entree at our dinner party last night was a good example of hearty but fun snacky "Dude Food". My hubbie requested Arancini balls for his birthday, but with a day of activities planned, I promised it at the next dinner party we hosted. He is very proud of his risotto, which he slaves over for hours, so whilst I got to enjoy that for dinner on Friday night, we made double the dosage so we'd have enough for the risotto balls to serve to our guests as an entree. 

I've never made Arancini before but in my experience the rice in the centre is warm, soft and gooey whilst the breadcrumb is golden and crisp. I had my doubts about whether mine would be exactly that. A good tip of double crumbing though was the secret success factor and after deep frying the balls for a few minutes will golden, the crumb was crispy and the insides perfect -  scrumptious with the spicy saffron mayonnaise!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

We have an American gal from Texas staying with us right now, so when  we were on our way home from work, I asked her about pies from the US to get some inspiration for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop this month. Pumpkin pie immediately sparked my interest as I have heard that in the States Pumpkin Pie comes right out of a can and into a pre made pastry case, so I thought it might be a challenge to make one from scratch, but where to start? Fast forward to a few mins later when I sat down to think about our menu for meals for next week. I pulled my June '06 copy of Delicious Magazine from the shelf, opened it at a random page to start flicking through, and there it was....Jill Dupleix's recipe for Sweet Pumpkin Pie. It was a sign! So, here we are!

Jill's recipe calls for store bought shortcrust pastry. Whilst I'm a fan of this for making quick pies in my pie maker, today's pie for a Blog Hop called for a home-made pastry too. I also jazzed up the presentation with a blow torch to the marshmallows on top. Whilst this recipe is heavily based on Jill Dupleix's, I adapted it a little too, so here goes:

Pumpkin Pie

200g Plain Flour
100g Chilled Butter
Pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of water

1 Butter nut pumpkin
3 eggs
60g fine breadcrumbs
200g brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
250ml evaporated milk
Marshmallows to decorate

  • Preheat the Oven to 200C;
  • Halve the pumpkin and lay seed side down on a greased baking tray. Cook until tender for approx 45 mins (fan forced);
  • Meanwhile, prepare the pastry: In the food processor blitz flour, salt and butter till it resembles breadcrumbs; Add water to bind, 1 tbsp at a time. When it starts to form clumps turn it out onto a floured bench top and knead till smooth;
  • Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 mins;
  • After chilling, roll out the pastry to around 3mm thick. Prick the base a few times with a fork and return to the fridge for around 20 mins to chill again (this prevents the pastry from shrinking in the oven);
  • Line pastry case with the pastry, and then cover with baking paper and pastry weights;
  • Remove pumpkin from the oven and turn off fan;
  • Blind bake the pastry for around 10 mins, then remove weights and baking paper and bake for another 10-15 mins until browning;
  • Meanwhile, remove 350g pulp from the baked pumpkin and set aside to cool;
  • Into the food processor, add the three eggs and whizz gently to lightly beat;
  • Add the pumpkin flesh and process till smooth;
  • Pour in spices, sugar, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Beat till combined;
  • Finally add evaporated milk and blitz till all mixed in and smooth;
  • Pour the mixture into a slightly cooled pastry case and return to oven for 25 mins or until the filling is set;
  • Remove from oven to cool slightly (can be served warm);
  • To serve, line white marshmallows around the outside of the pie. Blow torch to brown the marshmallows;
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream or pouring cream.

Thanks as always to the #SABH team, especially the Kitchen Crusader, for hosting this month's Bloghop!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tiers of Joy

Weddings are the happiest occasions, love and joy, champagne and.... cake! Who could ask for more!  There I was toasting to the engagement of good friends at a Christmas party when, after a few drinks, it popped out.... "I could make your cake!" 

I was, of course, really excited to be able to give a three tiered cake as a gift, but it's not a small ask, especially because it would be my first time making a gluten free cake and no pressure, it's just the most important cake in a girls life! Luckily, apart from the gluten free request, the bride was quite relaxed about how it could be, but I had more expectations on myself to make it as good as it could be.

It actually wasn't the first wedding cake I've made, but unlike riding a bike, it's as daunting the second as the first time! The one thing that did fill us with confidence was that in the test version of the Gluten-free rich fruit cake turned out beautifully and we knew that the Marshmallow fondant that we used in the first wedding cake we made a few years ago would be a real winner! 

When it came to baking and decorating the cake it was hectic but fun (apart from the beginning of the icing when my hubbie thought the marshmallow would never become unstuck from his hands!) and the cake, although not perfectly evenly shaped, went down a treat. 

I felt very honoured to be able to be part of my friends' special day and delighted to kick off their marital bliss with a moist, brandy laced fruit cake!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...